Meghan Markle and the unparalleled selling power of a princess

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In this age of Insta-celebs and outfit selfies, when it comes to flogging dresses it is the notion of a princess that gets cash tills ringing. Laura Craik discusses

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By Laura Craik on

“Who is Mega Marker?” my youngest daughter asked the other day. Like Happy Meals and swear words, she had picked up on the existence of Prince Harry’s new fiancee regardless of the fact that her name hadn’t even been uttered in our house. When I explained who Meghan was, her face lit up. “Wooooo-hooooo!” she said. “A new princess! I’m going to design her a beautiful gown. I’m going to send it to the Queen. The Queen will show her, won’t she, Mummy?” My daughter has an optimistic impression of her closeness to our monarch, on account of having once received a letter from Buckingham Palace thanking her for a birthday card. In her eyes, basically, the Queen and my daughter are now pen pals.

It’s easy to see the appeal of a princess to a seven-year-old girl brought up on shimmering tales of Cinderella. Less fathomable, perhaps, is that when it comes to Meghan Markle, the entire world seems to have lost it's shit. Oh. My. God. It’s like Diana, Kate Middleton and the Second Coming of Christ combined. You thought Kates' Moss and Middleton could sell clothes? Honey, they ain’t no one when compared to Meghan Markle. That belted white coat she wore on the day she and Harry publicly announced their engagement? You may have thought it “a bit dressing gown”, but it sold out in minutes, generating so much traffic to the brand’s website that it crashed. Needless to say, the coat (designed by Toronto-based Line The Label) has been renamed “The Meghan”. It’s fair to say it won’t be the last garment/shoe/handbag to be monikered thus.

Meanwhile, over in my hometown of Edinburgh (shortly to be renamed Meghanburgh), a previously unknown handbag brand called Strathberry sold out of its £495 burgundy tote within 11 minutes after Meghan swung it daintily from her arm on the occasion of her first royal engagement. “It was a fantastic surprise,” quoth the owners of Strathberry while googling “Scottish castles” on Zoopla.

It’s easy to see the appeal of a princess to a seven-year-old girl brought up on shimmering tales of Cinderella. Less fathomable, perhaps, is that when it comes to Meghan Markle, the entire world seems to have lost its shit

Of the many positive things to be said about Meghan, the most pleasing for the fashion industry, at least, is her support of small, up-and-coming labels. Unlike the Duchess of Cambridge, who prefers to stick to tried-and-tested household names like L.K.Bennett, Jenny Packham and Alexander McQueen (nothing wrong with this – we can’t all be mavericks), Meghan has endorsed a slew of brands that even those well-versed with the fashion industry had never heard of. The “husband” shirt she wore at the Invictus Games? It was designed by her friend, Misha Nonoo. Only her jeans were well-known (by US brand Mother) – her pumps were by Sarah Flint and her shades were by Finlay & Co (who made £20,000 on that single style). Other, lesser-known brands Meghan has endorsed include P.A.R.O.S.H., whose bottle-green sleeveless dress she wore during her first television interview with Harry. Weirdly, it only shifted 25 units, and four of those were returned. I’m kidding! It sold out!

Whoever Prince Harry had married, such is the public's seemingly insatiable desire for “style icons” that the lucky bride was always destined to set the tills alight. And yet there’s something about Meghan which is pure commercial gold. Sure, her credentials as an actress don’t hurt: they’ve made her poised, articulate and more practiced in putting a killer outfit together than the average Home Counties gal. But more than that, the magic lies with Meghan herself. In 2017, it really, really shouldn’t be a Thing that the royal family is to finally welcome someone of African-American parentage into the fold – and yet it is, because they never have done before. Meghan is a beacon of inclusivity at a time when Britain has never needed one more. Add to that her desire to make the world a better place through her charity work, and the future has never looked brighter for the royals.

There will never be another “People’s Princess”, because there will only ever be one Diana. But in Meghan, Harry has found a wife his mother would be proud of. Never mind her handbags – it’s her heart which seems to be in the right place, and that’s what really matters.*

*and her wedding dress, says the seven-year-old


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Photo: Getty Images 
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fashion news
Laura Craik
Kate Middleton

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